5G Americas says 5G will drive autonomous car revolution

5G Americas says 5G will play a big role in the autonomous or self-driving car. This is true but is only part of the story. AI, IoT and other technologies will also drive this revolution.

illustration of a smart car gaging distance from surrounding vehicles

Last week, 5G Americas, the wireless trade group, announced the publication of a new whitepaper that focuses on the role 5G will play in wireless vehicle-to-everything communications. The self-driving or autonomous-driving revolution has been coming on strong over the last few years, but this next generation of wireless technology could be the real starting line.

The 5G Americas whitepaper is called, “Cellular V2X Communications Towards 5G”. V2X means vehicle-to-everything. If you’ve been paying attention, we have already entered this space. Driving many new cars, you will notice how they automatically update their operating systems, navigation, radio and dashboard controls while driving. 

The auto industry has been doing this over the last few years and it is very exciting for the auto maker, the customer and the investor. No longer do customers have to buy new models just to get the newest technology. Now the technology they own for several years will be continually updated.

Just like your favorite iPhone or Android, it automatically updates on an ongoing basis. Sure, new models will have new technology, so there will always be added benefit to update the vehicle. However, since we keep our cars longer than we keep our smartphones, it only makes sense to have them be able to update themselves and stay current.

Self-driving auto revolution empowered by 5G, AI, IoT and more

This is just one of the exciting areas where wireless is helping the automotive industry. The next step is toward self-driving or autonomous cars and the move to 5G will accelerate this shift, according to 5G Americas. This new world means updating the technology in every car, but it also means installing and continuously updating the technology in the street to help every trip be safer, faster and smarter.

Imagine a self-driving car knowing the current traffic gridlock and re-routing the path home, automatically. This will be just one slice of the next generation automobile.

This communication will be at rapid 5G speeds over the wireless Internet. This technology will start out in congested cities and expand from there. International standards for Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything communications are currently being developed. The connected car marketplace is a rapidly growing and evolving space.

V2X or vehicle-to-everything improves safety

5G Americas says, over the last several years, one of the industry shaping goals has been to create vehicles that communicate with other vehicles (V2V) and with infrastructure (V2I) and the wireless Internet (V2N). Even pedestrians (V2P) are a part of this equation.

This is key because of the safety dangers that come with this self-driving revolution. First, it’s important to understand, even without this autonomous revolution, driving is still full of dangers. Think of all the accidents, injuries and deaths that occur on a regular basis. Self-driving will alleviate much of that but may also create new problems. Problems we must be aware of and act on quickly as they come up.

Advances in technology, electronics, sensing and computing, which includes machine learning or AI, computer vision and more will become reality in coming years. We will see a transformation from passive to active approaches to improving safety. Move from seat belts and airbags to help us survive, to using AI to help us avoid the problem in the first place.

Solving the self-driving car quandary

Of course, there are quandaries. If a self-driving car is suddenly in a position where it has a choice to either hit an oncoming car head on, or drive into a crosswalk full of people, what decision will it make? What decision would you make? Someone will be hurt. You don’t know. Yet we must program a response into the machinery. So, whose life is worth more or less?

This is just one of many questions that are very difficult to answer. What will we decide? Yet we must answer today for this automated driving revolution to continue. And this revolution will continue. It will roll out and mature over many years to come.

We are still in the very early stages of development. Even so, this is a very exciting area, and it will continue. This area will see rapid growth and change. It will reward workers, companies and investors. We have lots of questions to answer as this new world continues to grow going forward.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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